One more can’t hurt

Oracle adds Big Data SQL to analytics buffet

Lucy Carey

San Francisco software giant throws new offering into packed market of ‘transformative’ data-to-gold solutions.

Big Data analytics have been hot in 2014. Nary a week goes by without a press release for some hot new technology coming our way, each one faster than the last, promising ever more incredible ways to spin sticky clumps of data into pure torrents of liquid gold. Never one to miss a good trend, this Tuesday, shrewd Oracle has added their offering to the already teetering market platter.

Going by the name of ‘Big Data SQL’, this technology is pitched as an option “for Oracle’s Big Data Appliance, which incorporates Cloudera’s Hadoop distribution, according to Neil Mendelson, vice president of product development, big data and analytics. The tool is apparently capable of running single SQL queries against Oracle’s own database, as well as Hadoop and NoSQL data stores.

As we’ve discussed before, there’s a huge interest in all these sparkly new data solutions, but many enterprises are hesitant to actually take the technology to the heart of their business models. There’s a multitude of factors behind this, with everything from lack of Big Data talent to security issues and Hadoop limitations cited as key barriers.

With a recognized player like Oracle, a lot of these fall away. Big Data SQL is perfectly positioned to utilize the skills of any Oracle database administrator, and as Mendelson tells JavaWorld, “You get to use the full dialect of SQL.”  

And of course, in time honored fashion, it’s all set to be charged at  the  premium Oracle rates enterprise has learnt to embrace (these will be published closer to the software going GA later this year). To fully enjoy Big Data SQL, you’ll also need to have version 12c of Oracle database installed and running on the software company’s Exadata database machine  – meaning the majority of users, who are largely still working with versions 11g and beyond, will be forced to upgrade.

Whilst Big Data SQL certainly does offer a range of exciting and useful features – for example, the ability to  leverage Smart Scan technology from Oracle’s Exadata line of database appliances to  offload common query operations to the storage layer, reducing the amount of info that has to travel through the network back to the server in the process – there’s nothing huge enough to entice non-Oracle enterprise converts away from other cheaper solutions out there.

Then again, even if it’s only adopted by an existing customer base, that’s a colossal footprint. Whilst  Oracle may not emerge as the big new thing in this packed space, it may well go a large way to help popularize data analytics in the enterprise mainstream – and that’s something that will push forward the technology and its adoption across the board.
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